US Freight Rail Traffic on Track in Week 27, but Mexico Derailed
US freight rail traffic
On July 12, 2017, the AAR (Association of American Railroads) released the North American rail freight volumes for the week ended July 8, 2017, or week 27. For the week, the overall freight traffic including intermodal (BRK-B) grew 2.4% to over 453,000 railcars, up from ~443,000 railcars in the week ended July 9, 2016.
US railcars excluding intermodal rose 1.1% to ~230,000 railcars, compared with 227,000 railcars in the same week last year. The intermodal volumes of these railroads jumped 3.7% to ~224,000 containers and trailers from around 216,000 units in the same week last year.
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In US freight rail traffic, of ten commodity groups, three posted a rise for the week, compared with the corresponding week in 2016: nonmetallic minerals, coal, and chemicals.
The commodity groups that recorded declines were petroleum and petroleum products (UGAZ), miscellaneous carloads, and grain.
For the first 27 weeks of 2017, US freight rail companies posted a cumulative volume of around 7.0 million railcars, up 6.2% from the same period last year. These railroads’ reported ~7.12 million intermodal units, representing a growth of 2.7% from last year.
Total combined US freight volumes including intermodal reached ~14.0 million railcars and intermodal units for the first 27 weeks of 2017. This represents a 4.4% YoY (year-over-year) rise.
Canadian and Mexican railroad volumes
The volume growth of Canadian railroads (CNI) was higher, in percentage terms, than that of US railroads last week, with railcar volumes rising 6.1% to nearly 71,000 units—a 7.3% growth on a YoY basis.
In the 27th week of 2017, the Mexican railroads (KSU) reported a marginal YoY decline of 0.8% in carloads to over 15,000 railcars. The intermodal volumes of these railroads fell 12.5% YoY to 10,132 units.
If you want to compare freight rail data week by week, you can start with the previous week by checking out Market Realist’s series Why North American Rail Traffic Is Rising—Except in Mexico.
In the next part of this series, we’ll check in with Norfolk Southern’s (NSC) carloads.